With increased focus on the kitchen being more than just the room you prepare your meals, but truly the heart of the home, the traditional kitchen triangle layout has been replaced with the five-zone kitchen. The concept of a kitchen work triangle was developed in the 1940s with the intent to cut construction costs by standardizing practices, not necessarily to make kitchens more efficient. The rules for the triangle layout were that there should be no more than a few steps between the refrigerator, cooktop-oven, and sink with no physical interruptions between the three points of the triangle.
Current trends are to organize your kitchen into work-friendly zones to be more ergonomic and efficient. Each zone defines an area of activity and movement in the kitchen which nowadays are also larger than traditionally laid out and have obstructions in the way, such as kitchen islands and more people walking around and through them. The current kitchen is often the hub for much more than simply meal prep, but also involves kids doing homework and entertaining friends and family with a more open layout to the rest of the home.
See what makes up the five-zone kitchen layout:
ZONE #1: The Cooking Zone
This consists of the wall oven, microwave oven, cooktop, and hood. Think in terms of all the larger appliances used for cooking your meal.
ZONE #2: The Cleaning Zone
While the sink is the focus of the cleaning zone, it also includes the dishwasher and garbage can. If you are right-handed your dishwasher should be located to the left of the sink, or vice versa to allow you to scrape and rinse dishes before placing in the dishwasher in one continuous movement. If possible, the garbage can should be near the sink and dishwasher as well.
ZONE #3: The Consumables Zone
This zone is comprised of food storage, including the refrigerator and the pantry. This is one of the areas we are asked to improve upon in most kitchen renovations we design – not only more space for storage but better organized and laid out. Keeping the refrigerator in a central location is helpful in that we access it on average 36 times per day.
ZONE #4: The Non-consumables Zone
Items used for cooking and eating are considered non-consumable, such as pots, pans, plates, cookie sheets, and serving dishes. This also includes small kitchen appliances and items that are not typically used on a daily basis. Special storage for these areas may include dish drawers with pegs to separate the plates and bowls, cookie sheet dividers, as well as small appliance garages or coffee stations.
ZONE #5: The Preparation Zone
This is where the magic happens, and current designs are focused on improving this area; your countertop space. The more uninterrupted countertop real estate the better. Multiple islands? Even better if you have the room.
If considering a kitchen renovation, we suggest working with an experienced team to ensure that not only your vision for aesthetics is considered, but also your space planning needs are met. The five-zone kitchen is part of kitchen design now and for the foreseeable future. However, compromise may be needed depending on the size of your kitchen space, the shape and the location of windows and doors, and how you use your kitchen. We would love to help you Love Where You Live by ensuring your kitchen is not only for food prep and storage but also a place for socializing and creating family memories.